|Letter from the President/CEO
...At the Heart of Having Crucial Conversations
In a recent issue of Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper, part of her "Architects of Change" series, she spoke about the "Conversations Around My Kitchen Table" with a wide variety of people, much like many of us have around the kitchen tables in our own homes. During one such conversation, she learned her friend was struggling.
"A friend shared that they have had thoughts of depression, despair and suicide. None of us had any idea they were feeling that way. It was yet another reminder of how critical it is for all of us to reach out and check in on friends and family, if nothing else to let them know that we are here and that they are not alone."
During the needs assessment portion of our Strategic Planning Process, it became very clear to us that almost everyone in our community is struggling emotionally in one form or another, and yet we have very few safe spaces to talk about it. We need more kitchen tables in our community. We need more face-to-face support.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this month, would you reach out and talk to someone? Tell them what you are personally dealing with - you might be surprised how many others are also struggling. You can also ask a child or young adult in your life how they really are, while sharing the types of things you struggle with emotionally. Often, our youth only see the "perfect" facade we all portray, so they stuff their feelings and try to emulate the so-called "perfect lives" of others.
As Maria put it so succinctly, "Being in community and inviting people into your life to sit at your table not only opens your mind, but it helps you feel connected and less alone. Social connection and feeling in community with others are critical to our emotional and mental health." She also shared this list of questions you can use to help assess your own mental wellness.
As we are researching and developing services to help with the youth mental health crisis through our Strategic Planning Process, we will continue to share suggestions and resources you can use right now, as well as update you on the progress we're making towards developing additional services.
Thank you for being "at the heart of helping" our community's well-being,
|The CVC Welcomes Spring with a Service Project
...At the Heart of Gardening and Giving Back
Last month, Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) members from
Malaga Bank and
Moog worked alongside Volunteer Center staff and a few of the Beacon House men to create a beautiful garden at the Beacon House's Bartlett Center in San Pedro as the CVC's Spring Service Project. From weeding and preparing the ground to planting vegetables and a variety of plants, the project was a huge success and everyone from the Beacon House shared their gratitude with those involved.
Service and helping others is a huge part of recovery for the men at the Beacon House. They are committed to developing strong relationships with the community as part of their state-certified residential drug and alcohol treatment program in San Pedro, and they are quite successful at it! We continue to be impressed and grateful for the Beacon House volunteers who help us with Operation Teddy Bear and other programs throughout the year, so when members of CVC came up with an opportunity to volunteer and help them back, everyone said an emphatic "yes!" The results in the photos above truly speak for themselves. Click here to see more photos from the project.
|The Return of our Escape Room Fundraiser
...At the Heart of Working Together to Solve the Mortuary Mystery
As you may remember, we mixed together local history with spooky, fictional fun and turned the basement of our historic, Old Torrance building - a real former mortuary - into a first-of-its-kind escape room fundraiser! Players have just 60 minutes to solve all the puzzles and find the final clue to escape the room... but will they???
If you missed your chance last fall, we hope you'll join us this time around... but don't wait - space is limited! Past players will tell you what fun they had, and you can read our reviews on Yelp
South Bay Escape Room: Mortuary Mystery
specific time slots on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
. Book a slot and bring three to six people with you. Larger groups can book multiple slots and reserve our community room for the perfect team-building activity! Advanced purchase is required.
to book a session for your team or learn more, including an extensive list of frequently asked questions.
|A "Tea-riffic" National Volunteer Week
...At the Heart of Volunteer Appreciation
Last month, we put a well-deserved spotlight on our year-round, consistent volunteers in appreciation for all they do to keep things running smoothly, and Board Member JoAnn Angeli encouraged everyone to celebrate volunteers for making a difference in the community. The recognition didn't stop there. When our volunteers arrived for their shifts during National Volunteer Week, they found personal notes of gratitude along with gifts to thank them for being "Tea-riffic" volunteers: an assortment of tea and reusable cups - a token of appreciation to thank them for everything they do!
|Overwhelming Community Support for Food for Kids
...At the Heart of a Spring Food Donation Surge
We are so grateful for the support we continue to receive from the local community for our
Food For Kids
- Diane Archibald regularly donates food throughout the year, and her most recent donation in April contained 25 pounds of food!
- Vlogger Karl Arrieta held a food drive for his birthday, where he collected and donated 155 pounds of food!
- AT&T held a food drive and packing event, where they collected food, packed 98 bags and donated an additional 51 pounds of food!
- An 8-year-old named Logan arranged a food drive at Bishop Montgomery High School as part of a community service project, where he collected and donated more than 250 pounds of food!
- Cal State Long Beach's Child Abuse Prevention Club collected and donated more than 300 pounds of food!
- Girl Scout Troop 17165 in Torrance collected and donated nearly 230 pounds of food!
- Kathy and Joe Gray donated more than 80 pounds of food!
- Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach held their Spring Food Drive, resulting in a donation of 330 pre-packed bags of food, plus an additional 879 pounds of food, for a total of more than 4,000 pounds of food!
- Dawn Kaliban's latest delivery, part of monthly donation to Food For Kids, contained 8 bags of food!
- The Kiwanis Club of Rolling Hills Estates donated more than 400 pounds of food!
- The Krojansky Family donated 20 pounds of food and their two young donors got a lesson in kindness!
- Genie Moreno donated nearly 50 pounds of food, which was delivered by Board Member Jean Adelsman!
- The members of the Torrance Woman's Club collected and donated nearly 600 pounds of food and $570 to help support the program!
- Letter carriers across the country joined together to Stamp Out Hunger on Saturday, May 12, and our local Torrance Post Office donated 285 pounds of food to Food For Kids!
- Yoshinoya collected and donated a METRIC TON of food - more than 2,100 pounds to be exact - during their team's recent food drive!
- Lisa Zane donated more than 100 pounds of food!
Donations like these help us fill the bags of food we distribute to eligible families every week. Visit
to learn more about the program, including what, how and where you can contribute. You can also learn about the latest Food For Kids donations from the community and more
on our Facebook page
|Local Teens Invited to #ProtectURFuture
...At the Heart of Empowering and Educating Youth
Our friends at the Attic Teen Center and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are hosting #ProtectURFuture on Thursday, May 31 at 5 p.m. at The Attic (2320 West Carson St., Torrance, CA 90501). #ProtectUrFuture is an evening that will empower local teens to make safe choices for the future, and it is presented in collaboration with the City of Torrance Community Services Department, Recreation Services Division. Click here or click the image below for more information.
Volunteer Opportunities Available 24/7!
- Featured Volunteer Opportunity -
South Bay Festival of the Arts presented by the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation on Saturday, June 23 - click here for details!
THANK YOU TO OUR MAJOR SPONSORS:
The Volunteer Center
South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach
The Volunteer Center South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach recognizes the valuable role volunteers play in our society and has been "at the heart of helping" for more than 50 years. We recruit and refer volunteers to more than 400 nonprofit organizations in our service area, as well as for our own signature programs, Operation Teddy Bear and Food For Kids. Potential volunteers can contact us to obtain information and connect with just the right service experience, fulfilling our mission of "mobilizing people and resources to deliver creative solutions to community needs." Visit www.volcenter.org to learn more.